Tuesday, May 12, 2009


on a rooftop on O'Farrell
The Tenderloin
Sunday afternoon


I’m just as excited to live here in the Tenderloin today, as I was when I first moved here four years ago. I was born in the East Bay, grew up in Seattle and moved to San Jose a year after I graduated from high school. After the dot com bubble busted five years later, I decided that it was time to ditch my 9 to 5 job and go back to school full-time. A month after I graduated from San Jose State, I gave my car to my little sister and moved up to San Francisco, deep in the heart of the Tenderloin. I have never looked back.

I began my career as a bartender when I went back to school full-time at San Jose State. At first, my plan was to bartend my way through college so I could have the schedule flexibility to handle my full-time course load. After graduating and living in the city for a year, I worried about what I should be doing with the rest of my life. I decided at the time that I couldn’t possibly make a career out of bartending. That’s when I traded in my weekend night shifts for weekdays behind a desk, in a downtown office.

After working full-time in an office for a couple years, I realized that I was not happy being stuck inside an office building 8 hours a day, five days a week. I missed my nights behind the bar. I missed having my days free to pursue my creative interests. Once again, I ditched the 9 to 5 job and returned to bartending.

I’ve learned that I can make a healthy career out of bartending. Not only do I bartend a couple nights a week, but I also teach people how to bartend and write about my bartending experiences on a daily basis. My life revolves around bartending and I have never been happier.

I am proud to live here in the Tenderloin. In fact, most of the people who live in the TL are very proud of living here. When I tell people that I live in the TL, they just think of all of the crackheads, drug dealers, homeless people and prostitutes who litter the streets, but we have all walks of life here. We have all sorts of cool restaurants and bars. We are surrounded with local artists and local art galleries. Anything one could ever need is within walking distance or is a short MUNI ride away. The Tenderloin is such a central location in the city. It’s right in the middle of everything. The beautiful thing about the TL is that it is vibrant and full of energy. Day or night, there is always something going on here. There is never a dull moment in this part of the city.

There isn’t anywhere else in the city I’d rather be.

You can read all about my bartending experiences through my bartending blog at:


I also post daily on my Examiner.com page as the SF Bartender Examiner at:


I am also the founding editor for a local, underground zine called Xploited Zine which can be found online at:



Char said...

busy woman!! great story.

Sinny said...

"there is nothing tender about tenderloin"
but for those of us who has been there,carrying cases of beer sweating ,managing the drunk while intoxicated ,
there are tenderness everywhere in the infamous tenderloin,,

it's our Hollywood in the bay area

but nicer and cooler and with honesty

city by the bay
meet me by the dark water

goddess in the groove said...

The Tenderloin still has the spirit that is lost in much of the city. Bravo to Kathleen for following her passion!

Gillian said...

Ooooh looks intriguing. I would love to visit the Tenderloin myself.
One day. Great capture.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving some love to the Tenderloin, Kathleen.

By the way, beautiful photos.

"it's our Hollywood in the bay area
but nicer and cooler and with honesty" - So well said!

Like Kathleen, we're proud of our neighborhood.